OPM Issues New Guidance on Telework

Last week, new guidance was released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that explains telework requirements for federal agencies, managers, supervisors, Telework Managing Officers and employees. Under the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act, agencies are required to establish a telework policy and notify employees of their eligibility to participate by June 7. The new guidance includes information about two different types of telework-full-time and situational, which is approved on a case-by-case basis. Agencies are also asked to outline a reasonable time frame for new hires to be notified of their eligibility to telework. Last week, new guidance was released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that explains telework requirements for federal agencies, managers, supervisors, Telework Managing Officers and employees.

Under the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act, agencies are required to establish a telework policy and notify employees of their eligibility to participate by June 7. The new guidance includes information about two different types of telework-full-time and situational, which is approved on a case-by-case basis. Agencies are also asked to outline a reasonable time frame for new hires to be notified of their eligibility to telework.

The guidance includes the requirements for training, and managers and employees who are eligible to telework are required to complete training. OPM provides basic telework training modules for employees and managers online, but agencies can also provide their own telework training programs. According to the guidance, those who have been teleworking under signed agreements for a considerable amount of time may not have to complete training.

OPM also provides samples of questions and a list of recommended items that managers and employees should discuss when creating a telework agreement. These items include safety, information security, schedules and requirements, among others.

The guidance includes a segment for federal managers and supervisors regarding their responsibilities in implementing telework programs. There are key differences in managing a teleworker, as it is important for managers to communicate regularly and effectively with their teleworking employees and Telework Managing Officer. The responsibilities of managers include, but are not limited to:

  • Knowing the agency's telework policy and procedures, including collective bargaining agreements;
  • Participating in training;
  • Determining their employees' eligibility to telework; 
  • Creating written telework agreements with employees;
  • Using effective performance management strategies;
  • Communicating expectations; 
  • Maintaining fairness in assigning work and rewarding performance;
  • Making good decisions about equipment; and 
  • Practicing telework themselves.

Agencies will have discretion in determining which employees can telework. They must submit an annual report to Congress that includes various types of information to show an agency's progress in telework programs.

Click here to read OPM's Guide to Telework in the Federal Government.

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